Category Archives: Sales & Marketing

Is “sales” a dirty word?→

Justin Jackson in a post entitled Is “sales” a dirty word? discusses a topic that hurts many freelancers, and seems common among creative and technical types.

For a lot of us, our feeling about sales stems from a bad experience with a salesperson.

The problem is, most salespeople are selling someone else’s product; they’re not directly invested in the product itself.

But you’re different.

Email Marketing Tutorial for Freelancers→

Kristi Hines, writing for the FreshBooks blog, provides a step-by-step email marketing tutorial for freelancers who are looking to use email to drive revenue:

In a nutshell, email marketing is a way to build relationships with many of the people who visit your website who might not be ready to hire you right away. By capturing their interest and encouraging them to sign up for your mailing list, you’ll be able to stay in touch with them, build interest in the value you offer and eventually turn many of them into paying clients. It’s a proven strategy that has worked for many freelancers, including copywriter Tom Tumbusch and photographer Michelle Koechle, who have shared their success with this strategy on the links provided. In today’s post I’ll walk you through how to set up a successful email marketing campaign in nine steps, so you can achieve the kind of success Tom and Michelle have.

We are not normal people→

Justin Jackson writes:

We get an idea for a thing, think about the technology we’d use to build it, and get excited.

“I could build this on the Twilio API!”
“I could learn that new CSS framework!”
“I could use this new tool I just purchased!”

The problem is that all of this is focused on us, the creator, and not on the customer, the consumer.

UPDATE: Justin’s post created some controversial on HackerNews

How to charge what you’re really worth→

Last year Mike McDerment, the founder of FreshBooks, and Donald Cowper, published a free eBook called Breaking the Time Barrier – How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential.

The tagline is “Learn how to charge what you’re really worth. Read this book and find out how you can earn twice as much as you do today.”

It’s an excellent guide, and it’s free (well, you can donate if you like, but not until AFTER you’ve read it).

Many of the approaches discussed are similar to the  work of Alan Weiss, of Summit Consulting, namely the proposal structure and value-based fees1, while being a bit more accessible to the typical freelancer.

It is a fairly quick and easy read eBook and anyone doing freelancing, consulting, or quasi-consulting service-based businesses will get something out of it.

Breaking the Time Barrier – How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential. (Cost: Free)



  1. which is not a bad thing; I’ve learned a lot from Alan’s body of work in this area 

The Freelancing Technologist Success Ladder

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering about the different approaches people take to being an independent IT professional.

There are really (at least) 4-5 camps. And they make all the difference in the world when it comes to how happy you are with where you are and what approaches to take when trying to get where you want to be. Each has different trade-offs.

If you aren’t aware of their existence than you may be “barking up the wrong tree”.

Many think the folks more successful than themselves are better at marketing, lucky… or some other mysterious attribute. That may be true but often they’re in an entirely different business. (It’s no wonder folks get frustrated trying to chase others when they are on the outside looking in.)

They’re chasing the outward results someone else is achieving but don’t understand the underlying strategy or positioning.

The table below documents what I call the Independent IT Professional Success Ladder. Continue reading The Freelancing Technologist Success Ladder

Tales of a Full Service Freelancer→

A video of a pretty bad ass presentation freelancer Michael Jones did for a user group on The Business of Freelance. It’s 19 minutes long and well worth it. The good stuff starts just under 2 minutes in.

This talk is a combination of my personal experiences and a broad economic examination of working as a freelancer in creative services.

Credit to Alox3 for posting this on the reddit freelance subreddit.

Flaws in Handling New Business Inquiries→

The WAV Group had researchers pose as consumers and make inquiries with real estate brokers.

They found that:

  • 48% of buyer inquiries were NEVER responded to.
  • Average number of call back attempts after the initial contact was 1.5
  • Average number of email contact attempts was 2.07
  • Average response time was 917 minutes (or 15.29 hours)

Their results are about right for technology consultants as well, in my experience.

How to Trigger New Business – When Starting Out or Already Established

Today we’re going to talk about a simple email that triggers referrals and inquiries from your existing professional and personal network. It is amazing both in its simplicity and effectiveness.

It’s a great way to get started out – and it can even be reused periodically to generate new referrals and inquiries. That’s how I still use it.

This technique has directly generated tens of thousands of dollars of freelancing income for me. Indirectly it’s likely accountable for a bit more, but I can’t determine that for certain. Continue reading How to Trigger New Business – When Starting Out or Already Established